Detail of Shōji Hamada (potter) from the cover of the book The Living Treasures of Japan by Barbra Adachi. Image credit Harri Peccinotti
 
The unique designation of “Living National Treasure” is an essential expression of the Japanese reverence for those who practice with the utmost skill and talent the traditional Japanese arts and crafts. The fourteen men and women who are the subject of this book represent crafts whose age-old ideals of beauty and use reflect major aspects of Japanese life – from dyed patterns of cotton or elegant silk kimonos to swords carried by the samurai to the pottery used both every day and in the tea ceremony.
 
The Living Treasures of Japan by Barbara Adachi. Foreward by Jo Okuda (former Director of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo). Introduction by Bernard Leach. Photographs by Harri Peccinotti. Drawings by Michael Foreman. Edited and designed by Derek Birdsall. Kodansha International Ltd, Tokyo, New York and San Francisco 1973. ISBN 0-87011-204-X.